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G7 meeting Response to Multiple Crises on the African Continent – focusing on Food Security, Statement by Gilbert F. Houngbo President of IFAD

19 mai 2022

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Excellencies,

I would like to thank Germany and the G7 for not losing sight of the importance of food security in Africa.

Shocks compounds one another, and the poor women and men of the developing world are hit hardest. This is why we need to build long-term resilience even as we provide relief for immediate impacts of crises.

Before the current war in the Ukraine sent fuel, fertilizer and commodities prices soaring, more than 700 million children, women and men did not have enough to eat.

At the root of hunger is inequality. Unequal access to education; to healthcare; to resources; to finance.

And for farmers in Africa, this is compounded by the already terribly visible impacts of climate change, which differ greatly from one region to the next: unheard of droughts and increased rainfall combine to disrupt planting seasons and lead to bad harvests across the continent.

We were not on track to achieve SDG2 in 2019. Today, we are even further off track.

The problem is not just about food insecurity today – it is also about preventing worse hunger tomorrow. Transforming food systems is critical.

Small-scale farmers and rural small and medium enterprises provide most of Africa’s food. They need to be able to increase their production, preferably of drought-resistant staples. They need infrastructures to help them reduce waste and loss. They need better functioning domestic and regional markets as well as consumers that are ready to buy locally-sourced rather than globally-sourced food.

What happens tomorrow depends on what we do today.

This is why IFAD has launched its Crisis Response Initiative to support small-scale farmers in the poorest and most affected countries and help provide access to essential agricultural inputs and financing for the coming planting season.

We are ready to expand the scope and scale of our response and we are counting on the G7 to lead by example in supporting African governments, African farmers, and African food entrepreneurs in this journey.

IFAD has more than 40 years’ experience as a global mechanism building the resilience of farmers and food systems. We stand ready to respond to the impact that the war in the Ukraine is having around the world. We stand ready to support the Global Alliance for Food Security, as well as other global initiatives, provided they are fully coordinated across one another.

And at a time when economies around the world are facing food, fuel and energy price hikes as well as rising global interest rates threatening their financial stability, we look to the G7 to limit the finance divide that has characterized the uneven recovery from COVID.

By working together to eliminate inequality and end the scourge of hunger, we can deliver on our 2030 Agenda promises to leave no on behind.